Courtesy FARO

So you think you’ve seen cool staircases, gee-whiz designer doors, and OMG countertops and sinks? Not so fast. It’s a safe bet you’ve never seen anything like the ones made in a 33,000-square-foot workshop in Bozeman, Mont.

Welcome to Brandner Design. The award-winning 35-person studio, fabricator, and manufacturer has made a name for itself in architectural and interior design circles for the way they artistically design and build nearly anything using steel and alloys, wood, or timber slabs. The applications range from custom furniture and accessories to large-scale installations for many blue chip companies.

Brandner Design’s artisans, engineers, and fabricators are fearless about nearly every aspect of their work save one: measuring as-built conditions.

Measuring Challenge
Ask Nate Neergaard, the company’s project studio manager, about taking field measurements. “We had a project in Philadelphia that kept me up at night worrying about,” he says.

Founder and owner Jeff Brandner empathizes: “It’s difficult to get the information we need with a tape measure or even a laser line. We can’t run around the country double-checking measurements. We have one shot to get it right. The customer expects a product that fits.”Neergaard had an idea: Why not try laser scanning?

Courtesy FARO

Turning Point
The suggestion proved to be an answer to a prayer. Setting aside initial skepticism, Brandner agreed to Neergaard’s request to investigate the technology. After field tests, the Brandner team made laser scanning existing conditions a part of their project workflow for four primary reasons:

  1. Project Confidence. “I was aware of laser scanning, but didn’t believe it was as accurate as we needed,” Neergaard recalls. “Working with steel requires great precision. We can’t add filler strips or sand something down to make a size work.” The eureka moment arrived when they compared “our installers’ as-built measurements with data from our FARO Focus Laser Scanner. Everything checked out.”
  2. New Business. The design group is leading a design-build project not far from its Bozeman location. Acting as the general contractor represents an expanding new part of its business. “A lot of the interior and exterior finishes are metal with very low tolerances,” Brandner says. “Laser scanning helps us manage that control with the information we need.”
  3. Application Ease. Neergaard says the software that powers the scanner, FARO SCENE, is very intuitive as is its companion As-Built Plug-In. “As-Built lets you pull in point cloud data and start extracting data from it,” he says. “It’s pretty amazing.”
  4. Team Building. Dillon Binstock, the company’s administrative assistant, says the laser images let the team back in the office “see in detail what we’re working on. It helps network everyone in the office [to the project].”

Brandner Design can now claim a powerful new asset that increases project quality, confidence, and business opportunities. “We’re really only at the beginning stages of what it can do,” Brandner says.

To learn more about how laser scanning can help build your business, visit